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Rape trial resumes, Aaron von Ehlinger takes the stand

Aaron von Ehlinger trial
Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 20:47:30-04

BOISE, Idaho — UPDATE: The jury paused for the night shortly before 8 p.m. after just more than seven hours of deliberation.

The jury will resume deliberation at 9 a.m. Friday.

Original:

The third day of the trial for Aaron von Ehlinger resumed Thursday. The former lawmaker took the stand, where he gave a graphic description of his version of the sexual encounter with Jane Doe.

Reporter Jake Garcia has full updates of the testimony, but Idaho News 6 will not provide in-depth descriptions due to the graphic nature of the testimony.

On the stand, von Ehlinger restated he met Jane Doe in Rep. Chad Christensen's office, and that his initial conversation with Doe was "pleasant," and "small talk." He said he gave Doe cookies from the AG meeting, and his number on the back of his business card. von Ehlinger said the first text was sent on February 7.

According to von Ehlinger, he and Doe made dinner plans for March 9. They met west of the Statehouse, von Ehlinger driving his roommate's car. After dinner, the pair went back to his Boise apartment. They sat next to each other on the couch and he said he "complimented her on how beautiful she was and we started making out." From there, von Ehlinger said the two moved to his bedroom, where he said Jane Doe willingly performed oral sex.

Defense, prosecution present closing arguments

Jane Doe did not return to the courthouse Thursday to continue her testimony. Judge Michael Reardon instructed jurors to not use her brief Wednesday testimony and to act as if she never entered the courthouse.

Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley began closing arguments, presenting the jury with a list of what the state must prove for a guilty verdict. Farley noted the physical difference between von Ehlinger and Jane Doe and power discrepancy between the two. Farley emphasized the testimony from Anne Wardle, the sexual assault nurse examiner who saw Jane Doe, using her statements to argue Jane Doe did not give consent in the encounter.

Farley told the jurors "there is no gray area" and said von Ehlinger's version of the events "are not the truth."

Defense Attorney John Cox began closing arguments by reminding the jury they agreed to find von Ehlinger innocent until proven guilty and said the state has not presented enough evidence for a guilty verdict.

Cox noted Jane Doe's hesitancy to continue with the investigation. Cox also discussed a back injury von Ehlinger sustained in his service, saying he could not have carried Jane Doe as stated.

The jury left for deliberations shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jane Doe briefly took the stand. She was asked about the assault in detail and had trouble focusing on the prosecuting attorney. Eventually, she told Reardon she "can't do this" and left the courtroom.